Summary: Faith is persevering when you don’t feel like it, and trusting God even when you don’t get it.
Faith is dependency on God.
Faith is practical. We exercise faith by acting on what we believe.
The FOUR Principles of Practical Faith (from Hebrews 11)
(1) FAITH IS BELIEVING WHEN YOU DON’T SEE IT (Heb 11:1,7)
• In a sense, you have to have faith that it is going to happen, FOR IT to happen.
• God responds always to faith, never unbelief. We must believe God enough for it.
(2) FAITH IS OBEYING WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT (Heb 11:8-10)
• We obey because we believe God will keep His promise.
• It is not so much how big your faith is, but how big God is.
We will learn from Moses what practical faith is – Heb 11:23-28
PRACTICAL FAITH IS…
(3) PERSEVERING WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT (Heb 11:8-10)
11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.
Faith needs perseverance because time is involved; waiting is involved, and this is a challenge to many.
• We don’t like to wait. We like things to be simple, quick and instant.
• The longer the wait, the more uneasy we become, the less we trust God.
Sarah couldn’t wait (Gen 16). God promised Abraham descendants but time was running out. She was getting too old.
• So she tried to jump start something that only time would reveal, and messed up God’s plan.
• She got her Egyptian maidservant Hagar to give Abraham a son – and now, up till today, their descendants (the Muslims) are always fighting against the Jews.
1 Sam 13 records an interesting situation - King Saul was about to fight the Philistines.
• They need to make a burnt offering to ask for God’s favour in battle, but prophet Samuel was nowhere in sight.
• So King Saul went ahead and did what he was not supposed to do – offered the burnt offering himself (1 Sam 13:9).
• 13:10-11 “Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11"What have you done?" asked Samuel.
• Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, 12I thought, `Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favour.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."
(i) It is not easy to wait, but it is necessary to wait.
• We persevere because we want God’s will to be done; not our will.
• We choose to hold on to God’s Word, even when all signs around you tell us otherwise. We trust His faithfulness. We cling to that which is unchanging, i.e. God and His Word.
(ii) We want to do what is right, not what we like.
• The culture today is concern about what WE like (not what God likes).
• We do not want to do things based on how we feel but how God feels.
• We are not going to let our mood determines our course.
Faith in God means we do what God wants, even when we don’t feel like it.
(iii) This is a challenge to many because we don’t always feel good doing the right thing.
• I don’t. I don’t always have the mood to pray. Reading the Bible can be dry. Sometimes, even coming to church can becomes a drag.
• But the issue is not about how you feel. It is about what is right and good.
Moses was committed to doing God’s will and bringing his people out of Egypt.
• It wasn’t the best job on earth – he would probably be much happier tending to sheep than leading a group of ungrateful people through a desert.
• But he persevered, despite the hardship, because this is the call of God. It is God’s plan and will.
The world teaches perseverance as a virtue. All the more as Christians we must persevere.
• Studies have shown that one of the key reasons why successful people are so successful is because they do the necessary thing even when they don’t feel like it. In order words, they don’t give up easily.
• Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. At his 5000th failed attempt, he just said, “Oh, I’ve just identified and eliminated 5000 ways that do not work, which brings me 5000 steps closer to discovering the one way that will work."
Let me ask you –
• What is the thing you don’t like to do, but you know God has been telling you to do it?
• Is there something that you don’t feel like stopping, but God is asking you to?